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THE DEATH OF MR LAZARESCU
USA: Tartan Films USA
UK: Tartan Films
Cast: Ion Fiscuteanu, Luminita Gheorghiu, Gabriel Spahieu, Doru Ana, Dana Dogaru, Serban Pavlu, Florin Zamfirescu, Clara Voda, Adrian Titieni, Mihai Bratila, Monica Barladeanu, Mimi Branescu, Rodica Lazar, Alina Berzunteanu, Mirela Cioaba, Doru Boguta, Dragos Bucur, Dan Chiriac, Laura Cret, Monica Dean, Bogdan Dumitrache, Alexandru Fifea, Tudor Hristescu, Cerasela Iosifescu, Iulia Lazar, Doru Oana, Simona Popescu
Director: Cristi Puiu
Language: Romanian (English subtitles)
USA: 153 mins
UK: 154 mins
USA Rated: R for language and brief nudity
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language
USA Release Date: 5 May 2006 (Limited Release - Los Angeles)
USA Release Date: 26 April 2006 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 14 July 2006
Having already prompted comparisons with everyone from Cassavetes to Mike Leigh and Frederick Wiseman, this multiple award-winning second feature from Romanian director Cristi Puiu, which screened in 2005 at both the Toronto and Cannes Film Festivals, won the Prix Un Certain.
Mr Lazarescu (Ion Fiscuteanu) is a 63 year-old widower who shares his apartment with his three cats. Suffering from pains in his head and his stomach, he calls for an ambulance, and whilst he's waiting he asks his neighbours for some pills. They try to help, though they disapprove of his drinking and the state of his flat. Finally the medics arrive to take him to hospital, an even more difficult task than usual as a bus accident has the local services at full stretch.
As the night wears on, Mr Lazarescu is shuttled from pillar to post, growing ever wearier and weaker in the face of the medical profession's bureaucracy and casual inefficiency. With colourful and recognisable characters the fundamental seriousness of the film's theme is judiciously leavened with a good deal of dry humour. THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU is Cristi Puiu's first chapter of a series of planned films entitled SIX STORIES FROM THE OUTSKIRTS OF BUCHAREST, inspired in part by Eric Rohmer's film cycles, and all relating to one aspect of love.